A Cause For Celebration 2018 Honorees

Learning Rights Law Center is celebrating thirteen years of excellence in education advocacy through its annual A Cause for Celebration event. The event will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2018, at The Mark for Events, in Los Angeles.


The dinner will honor the late Honorable Shirley Hufstedler – first United States Education Secretary - for her vital commitment to education; Rebecca Torrey of Elkins Kult Weintraub Reubel Gartside LLP,  for her tireless pro bono public interest work; and Randy Paige, a CBS journalist, for his significant contributions toward social and civil rights justice through his investigative and award-winning journalism.

Click below to read their biographies.

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Shirley Hufstedler
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2018 Breaking Education Barriers Award Recipient, the late Shirley Hufstedler, with President and First Lady Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Photo courtesy of Seth Hufstedler.

The Honorable Shirley Hufstedler served as the first United States Education Secretary under President Jimmy Carter from 1979 through 1981. As Secretary, she emphasized individual student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence, seeking to ensure equal access and enforcing oversight over state policies to prevent discrimination. Secretary Hufstedler was a trailblazer and a champion for equality, defining the Department's role as a protector of civil rights.

While serving as a Judge at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, she authored numerous majority opinions as well as notable concurrences and dissents. Among her best-known opinions was her dissent in a 1974 case, Lau v. Nichols, in which the majority found that the San Francisco school system's failure to provide language services for non-English speaking Chinese immigrants did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment. In her dissent, Hufstedler wrote that "these children are more isolated from equal educational opportunity than were those physically segregated blacks in Brown v. Board of Education.” The U.S. Supreme Court eventually agreed with her and decided unanimously to reverse the Ninth Circuit's decision.

Hufstedler received her law degree from Stanford in 1949. She and her husband, Seth, met in law school. Both top students and among the founders of the Stanford Law Review, the couple married the year they graduated. 

Secretary Hufstedler’s career in public service spanned over two decades. In 1961, Governor Pat Brown appointed Hufstedler as a judge to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. She was elected to the office in 1962 and served until 1966 when she was appointed an associate justice to the California Court of Appeal. In 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson appointed Hufstedler to the Ninth Circuit, she was the only female federal appellate judge in the nation.

After resuming private practice in 1981, Secretary Hufstedler became a partner in her husband's law firm, Hufstedler, Miller, Carlson & Beardsley in Los Angeles, specializing in appellate matters in both state and federal courts. In 1995 both Hufstedlers, along with several associates, joined the Morrison & Foerster law firm. Secretary Hufstedler went on to have a thriving practice for more than 20 years at Morrison & Foerster, where she was a senior of counsel.

During her 65-year career, Secretary Hufstedler served on dozens of governing boards of academic institutions, professional associations, and charitable organizations. She received 19 honorary degrees and numerous other awards and recognition. Secretary Hufstedler passed away in 2016 at the age of 90.

Learning Rights Law Center is proud to celebrate Secretary Hufstedler’s legacy of fighting for equality and justice in education by posthumously awarding her with our Breaking Education Barriers Award 2018. We are delighted that Mr. Hufstedler has agreed to accept this award for his late wife.

Rebecca Torrey
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2018 Champion of Education Award Recipient, Rebecca Torrey. Photo courtesy of Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside.

Rebecca Torrey serves as a partner at Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP, specializing in employment law. As such, she represents management in bet-the-company cases involving wage and hour and fair credit class actions, trade secret claims, wrongful termination, discrimination and fair pay.

Rebecca provides strategic advice to companies aimed towards developing human resources practices aligned with an employer’s culture, values and priorities and designed to minimize legal risk. Her clients include healthcare companies, professional services firms, entertainment, digital media and technology innovators, manufacturers and recyclers, and tax-exempt organizations operating both domestically and internationally.

A regular speaker and writer on key developments and cutting-edge legal issues around regulation and compliance, Rebecca is known for pragmatic, out-of-the-box solutions that support strategic growth. She has been ranked by Chambers USA multiple times, is honored by her peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America and recognized for her trial successes as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel in America. Selected by the professional services network IR Global as its exclusive California employment practitioner, Rebecca contributes thought leadership and provides guidance on developing areas of employment law to professionals around the world.

Prior to her law firm practice, Rebecca served as a Law Clerk for Chief Judge Deanell Reece Tacha for the Tenth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals. She graduated from Duke Law School, majoring in International & Foreign Law, where she also served as an executive editor of the Duke Law Journal.

Rebecca has served as Learning Rights’ pro bono employment counsel since its inception and has been instrumental in helping Learning Rights reach its strategic growth potential. Thanks to Rebecca’s guidance, Learning Rights has been fostering a positive work culture, ensuring employee empowerment and groundbreaking outcomes in our community, for more than a decade.

In addition to helping Learning Rights on a pro bono basis, Rebecca also volunteers for a number of organizations and associations, including, Episcopal School of Los Angeles, where she serves as a Board Chair, and Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Counsel for Justice, where she serves as the Vice President of its Board of Directors. Rebecca lives in Santa Monica, with her two children.

Randy Paige
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2018 Justice Through Arts and Media Award Recipient, Randy Paige. Photo courtesy of CBS News.

Randy Paige is a duPont award-winning reporter whose groundbreaking investigations have resulted in new laws that directly affect millions of Californians. He is a staunch advocate for social justice and traditionally marginalized members of the community through his trailblazing journalism.

Paige first came to CBS2 in 1999 to join the acclaimed Special Assignment Unit, and one year later he exposed extensive lead contamination in Southern California public schools which resulted in new laws and a massive lead clean-up in five school districts. That story received the Alfred I duPont Columbia University Silver Baton award (considered to be the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) for excellence in reporting.

In addition, he conducted a hidden camera investigation, which revealed foster children were forced to attend school in dilapidated motels and former convalescent hospitals, taught by teachers without credentials while the state paid exorbitant costs to private companies for a substandard education. That investigation led to sweeping reforms in the education of foster children.

Randy also exposed deplorable conditions in Southern California public school bathrooms leading to new laws requiring schools to keep their bathrooms open and clean as well as a multi-million-dollar bathroom clean-up campaign at the Los Angeles Unified School District.

In addition to conducting numerous other groundbreaking investigations, Paige has also covered some of the most important national and local news stories of the past decade. He reported from Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, the civil trial of O.J. Simpson as well as from the U.S.S. Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea.

Randy Paige has received numerous awards and accolades for his investigative work. In addition to the duPont award, he was named Reporter of the Year by the LA Press Club in 2001. Randy received a National Headliner Award for Human Interest Reporting while working as a correspondent for “The Crusaders,” a national investigative news magazine. Randy’s awards also include a Gold Medal of Honor as Reporter of the Year from the New York Film Festival, RTNDA-Best News Documentary; AP Bill Stout Memorial Award for Enterprise Reporting; Three Golden Mikes from the Radio and Television News Association; and Associated Press 1999 Best Spot News. He has received Emmy awards for his investigative, environmental and feature reporting as well as more than a dozen Emmy nominations.

To sponsor the event or to purchase event tickets, please click here or contact Azra Variscic at 213-542-7282 or azra@learningrights.org.